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Life After Pulse

Of the 49 people killed at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, 78% were considered millennials (anyone between the ages of 18 and 34). The attack has created widespread discussion on gun control, hate crimes, and LGBTQ+ discrimination. Here's how 9 millennials see life after the Pulse Attack.

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1. "Life after Pulse is sort of like regressing. People were starting to feel comfortable with themselves. People were coming out like crazy, but after that event, it's like going back to square one."

"I feel as though having marriage equality throughout the whole country does not necessarily mean we have acceptance. Once it was passed through the Supreme Court, there was a sigh of relief, but after Pulse people from the community are feeling a bit uneasy about being themselves. I have at least attempted to understand that those who are judgmental do not completely understand LGBTQ+ people. They believe being gay is a choice and the question they must ask themselves is: after being persecuted, killed, bullied, and suicide attempts why would anyone choose to be gay? Life after Pulse is sort of like regressing. People were starting to feel comfortable with themselves. People were coming out like crazy, but after that event, it's like going back to square one."

Achille, 20, Gay

USA

2. "We need allies, we need people willing to help, people who care that will fight for us. We shouldn't be getting killed like this in 2016. No one should."

"I've never really ever emotionally connected with a tragedy before. I've empathized but never really sympathized, you know? And there is a difference between the two. But when the shooting happened in Orlando it kind of just woke up this fear and rage within me, and I just can't shake it anymore. A year ago, this past Sunday I believe, my community finally gained the right to marriage and it seemed like maybe the world was starting to come to its senses. But I don't feel like that is the case. I know that we need laws in place to protect, especially in our carved out safe spaces. I know that we need to stop blaming a far away enemy and address the very real problem of homophobia and racism in America, because I one hundred percent believe that the shooter's homophobia was born and bred in America- his hate was red, white, and blue. I've always believed in stricter gun laws and I have no idea why we still believe in laws written by dead, old white men (most of whom were slave owners). Yes, we're all one people, one human race, but erasing the victims sexual and gender identities is doing more harm and good. Not three days after the attack, conservatives were voting against us again. We need allies, we need people willing to help, people who care that will fight for us. We shouldn't be getting killed like this in 2016. No one should. It shouldn't be that easy to obtain a gun and use it on us. The gunman may have pulled the trigger, but every conservative, every homophobe, every Republican that votes against us, every parent that has kicked out a queer child, every bully that uses fag as an insult- they all were the bullets. They might as well have been standing behind him encouraging him to do it. We need to hold our law makers and enforcers to a higher standard."Amber, 25, LesbianUSA
Amber

"I've never really ever emotionally connected with a tragedy before. I've empathized but never really sympathized, you know? And there is a difference between the two. But when the shooting happened in Orlando it kind of just woke up this fear and rage within me, and I just can't shake it anymore. A year ago, this past Sunday I believe, my community finally gained the right to marriage and it seemed like maybe the world was starting to come to its senses. But I don't feel like that is the case. I know that we need laws in place to protect, especially in our carved out safe spaces. I know that we need to stop blaming a far away enemy and address the very real problem of homophobia and racism in America, because I one hundred percent believe that the shooter's homophobia was born and bred in America- his hate was red, white, and blue. I've always believed in stricter gun laws and I have no idea why we still believe in laws written by dead, old white men (most of whom were slave owners). Yes, we're all one people, one human race, but erasing the victims sexual and gender identities is doing more harm and good. Not three days after the attack, conservatives were voting against us again. We need allies, we need people willing to help, people who care that will fight for us. We shouldn't be getting killed like this in 2016. No one should. It shouldn't be that easy to obtain a gun and use it on us. The gunman may have pulled the trigger, but every conservative, every homophobe, every Republican that votes against us, every parent that has kicked out a queer child, every bully that uses fag as an insult- they all were the bullets. They might as well have been standing behind him encouraging him to do it. We need to hold our law makers and enforcers to a higher standard."

Amber, 25, Lesbian

USA

3. "People need to understand the attack is a step away from acceptance. It is backwards in terms of social justice, peace, and diversity."

"I fear going back to America even more than before, especially after the bathroom bills and increasing hatred of LGBTQ people. I'm not sure there is anything we can do about attacks like this, other than combat the rising hatred and anger in America at the moment. People need to understand the attack is a step away from acceptance. It is backwards in terms of social justice, peace, and diversity."

Liv, 22, Transwoman/gay

UK

4. "This man WAS a terrorist. There is no question on that. But he was not a Muslim terrorist..."

"When I first heard of the shooting I was at work. This guy was buying a shirt for his wife and they said something like "death count went up". I got wicked anxious because I didn't know where it was, or what happened, and I have friends all around the world. The husband said there was a mass shooting in a gay club. I am a bisexual cis female, and I'm not super public with my sexuality because I'm in a heterosexual relationship. As time went on and the more news coverage it got it started making me more angry than anything else. The news network my mom watches kept saying Muslim and Isis. This man WAS a terrorist. There is no question on that. But he was not a Muslim terrorist... he was a psychotic homophobe who happened to be Muslim."Missy, 19, BisexualUSA
Missy

"When I first heard of the shooting I was at work. This guy was buying a shirt for his wife and they said something like "death count went up". I got wicked anxious because I didn't know where it was, or what happened, and I have friends all around the world. The husband said there was a mass shooting in a gay club. I am a bisexual cis female, and I'm not super public with my sexuality because I'm in a heterosexual relationship. As time went on and the more news coverage it got it started making me more angry than anything else. The news network my mom watches kept saying Muslim and Isis. This man WAS a terrorist. There is no question on that. But he was not a Muslim terrorist... he was a psychotic homophobe who happened to be Muslim."

Missy, 19, Bisexual

USA

5. "So many people have asked if 'I am okay,' and I don't know how to answer that question. I don't really know how to go on. All I know is that I keep going."

Many of my friends or friends' family members are LBGTQ+ and/or frequently go to Pulse. It's a really popular gay club in a section of Orlando that is typically considered a safe space for queer and trans people. Not knowing if they were alive or dead was really moving and impactful for me. Pride was a really interesting experience for me, as I did not know if there was much to celebrate. In a way, it was liberating to spend my first ever Pride in Washington, D.C., but I also did not feel safe there -- at a place designed specifically for people like myself to feel safe. On the way back, on the bus, I removed all Pride-related stickers from myself and took all trans and gay pride buttons off my backpack for fear of being verbally or physically harassed/assaulted. For so much of my life, I have felt sub-human being gay and transgender. This event, in a way, made me have flashbacks to when I was a younger kid thinking that I should just take my own life because others wanted to take it from me. I felt that way again after hearing of the shooting. I guess I'm just struggling to cope with not feeling safe, even in the places that were designed to be safe spaces for my community. There was a vigil in D.C. to stand together against homophobia, transphobia, and Islamaphobia, and I didn't even know if I felt safe going by myself. Luckily, everything was okay, and we gathered as a big LBGTQ+ family. I felt more love than I've ever felt, but it's still tough. Especially when I see well-meaning straight people saying this is a tragedy that effects us all equally. When one of us in the LBGTQ+ is hurt or killed, we are all affected. We are each other's family when our own blood family rejects us. We love each other unconditionally, and support each other through the hell on earth that society puts us through. From the beginning, it has been this way. Marching for five years, ten years, even twenty years won't stop the violence against our community, so sometimes we are all that each other has. So many people have asked if "I am okay," and I don't know how to answer that question. I don't really know how to go on. All I know is that I keep going. And that's all I can do. People who are not a part of the LBGTQ+ community who stand by our side are valued so much.

Andrew, 21, Gay/agender/non-binary

USA

6. "I had to tell my parents about the shooting because they need to know that the same thing could happen to me, and they need to be prepared for it. Even if I didn't live right next to Florida I would've had to tell them that. It's not so much something to be afraid of as something I have to actively plan for and expect."

"Life is pretty much the same, I mean there's LGTBQ hate crimes all the time, but the size of this was just too much to process. But there are some things that are harder to handle after a shooting like this--like that Game of Thrones finale. That gay character who was put on trial for being gay and had to repent for his gay sins, and then everyone in the court was killed cause of the trial being blown up, and he was killed off--that kind of thing has a special kind of sting now that its aired right after Pulse. It's like, we know everybody hates us and wants us dead, even in fiction, don't worry, we didn't forget. So a TV show doing shit like that personally hurts a more after Pulse, because it's clearly still happening, being killed cause you're gay isn't fiction. The other biggest thing for me is that I live one state away from Orlando, and I had to tell my parents about the shooting because they need to know that the same thing could happen to me, and they need to be prepared for it. Even if I didn't live right next to Florida I would've had to tell them that. It's not so much something to be afraid of as something I have to actively plan for and expect."Orion, 20, Non-binary/transgender/queerUSA
Orion

"Life is pretty much the same, I mean there's LGTBQ hate crimes all the time, but the size of this was just too much to process. But there are some things that are harder to handle after a shooting like this--like that Game of Thrones finale. That gay character who was put on trial for being gay and had to repent for his gay sins, and then everyone in the court was killed cause of the trial being blown up, and he was killed off--that kind of thing has a special kind of sting now that its aired right after Pulse. It's like, we know everybody hates us and wants us dead, even in fiction, don't worry, we didn't forget. So a TV show doing shit like that personally hurts a more after Pulse, because it's clearly still happening, being killed cause you're gay isn't fiction. The other biggest thing for me is that I live one state away from Orlando, and I had to tell my parents about the shooting because they need to know that the same thing could happen to me, and they need to be prepared for it. Even if I didn't live right next to Florida I would've had to tell them that. It's not so much something to be afraid of as something I have to actively plan for and expect."

Orion, 20, Non-binary/transgender/queer

USA

7. "People literally told us we were going to hell because we were having a vigil for the victims of the largest mass shooting on American soil."

"It's awful because we live in a world now where homophobic people value sexuality over human lives, which is absolute bullshit. I shouldn't have to be afraid to tell people that I am bisexual. When a couple of my friends and I heard the news, we immediately thought of what we could do to help so we had a candle light vigil and balloon release for those that were lost. We actually received a lot of hate for doing this. People literally told us we were going to hell because we were having a vigil for the victims of the largest mass shooting on American soil. If it hadn't have happened in a gay club, it would have been a whole other story. But, I guess "land of the free" really only applies to white, cis, hetero men in this God forsaken country."

Tanya, 20, Bisexual

USA

8. "Knowing there are incredibly supportive people in the world makes me feel a lot more confident about facing people who aren't as supportive."

"Well, I am bisexual, and I just recently realized it. I guess I'm not completely scared about being bi, because I have so many people who support me and literally don't even care that I'm bi because it's just...me. Knowing there are incredibly supportive people in the world makes me feel a lot more confident about facing people who aren't as supportive. Still, I get why other people in the LGBTQ community are more afraid. There are some really nasty people in the world who can do terrible things under the guise of having the freedom to do so. I live in a small community where no one really talks about sex or sexuality, so I've never encountered a really adverse reaction to my sexuality, just a few snorts and grunts here and there; maybe that's why I'm not as scared as other people...I'm living in a bubble right now. Before the attack, I knew there were people who were against the LGBTQ community but I thought of them always as religious people who would, because of their faith, not do anything violent because violence is also against most religious beliefs. After the attack happened, I kind of woke up from my fantasyland and realized that, in reality, people aren't always going to follow the rules. And that is scary, especially as an LGBTQ person."Gabby, 20, BisexualUSA
Gabby

"Well, I am bisexual, and I just recently realized it. I guess I'm not completely scared about being bi, because I have so many people who support me and literally don't even care that I'm bi because it's just...me. Knowing there are incredibly supportive people in the world makes me feel a lot more confident about facing people who aren't as supportive. Still, I get why other people in the LGBTQ community are more afraid. There are some really nasty people in the world who can do terrible things under the guise of having the freedom to do so. I live in a small community where no one really talks about sex or sexuality, so I've never encountered a really adverse reaction to my sexuality, just a few snorts and grunts here and there; maybe that's why I'm not as scared as other people...I'm living in a bubble right now. Before the attack, I knew there were people who were against the LGBTQ community but I thought of them always as religious people who would, because of their faith, not do anything violent because violence is also against most religious beliefs. After the attack happened, I kind of woke up from my fantasyland and realized that, in reality, people aren't always going to follow the rules. And that is scary, especially as an LGBTQ person."

Gabby, 20, Bisexual

USA

9. "In most cases, these individuals should never have had the ability to acquire a gun as easily as they did."

"I'm sad it happened, but not terribly surprised given the attitude and politics of both guns and the state of Florida (which I'm originally from). I'm not worried about anything happening similarly elsewhere, but I do believe that the use of guns in this nation requires more attention. More mass shootings occur as domestic disputes in which (usually, but not always) men kill their family members. The media rarely reports on this and as such we don't see the exacts as to why there are so many. In most cases, these individuals should never have had the ability to acquire a gun as easily as they did."

Scott, 23, Straight

USA

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